Stranger in the Cornfield

October 7, 2009
By , Sunman, IN
“Daddy, wake up! Come on, come on! We have to get the corn!” a girl, only the age of eight, shouted to her father as she jumped up and down on his bed. Brooke, the little girl, lived on a large farm with her widowed father. She loved helping him take care of all the animals, help in the garden, and especially wake up at seven in the morning to check on the corn. It had been something she enjoyed doing with her father.

“I'm up, I'm up!” her father said to Brooke, who was already dressed in worn out jeans, a flannel shirt, and her beloved cowboy boots her mom bought on the Christmas before the car wreck. Brooke loved the boots and the way they reminded her so much of her loving mother.

“Did you remember to feed Chester?” Brooke's father asked about her new stray dog.

The beagle dog was found on the side of the road with a broken leg. Brooke was coming home from school walking down the long gravel driveway when she turned back and noticed the poor thing crying for help. She had run all the way down the driveway and inside her house, screaming for her father to help bring the dog home and take care of him. Her father did, in fact, sprint down the driveway to bring the dog home. He carried the beagle all the way up to the house and fixed his poor broken leg. With Brooke being the one who found the dog, her father decided it was Brooke's responsibility to feed Chester.

“Yes daddy, I fed Chester and he's already outside waiting for us to get the corn!” she said to her tired looking father.

“Alright let's get to it.” Brooke's father said as he climbed out of bed and put on the nearest t-shirt, and an old worn out pair of jeans, much like Brooke's.

Brooke and her father walked outside and grabbed buckets to collect corn in. Her father entered the field first, while she walked right behind him with her over sized bucket. They walked through long rows of corn that hid the two because the stalks were so tall. Brooke was walking along side her father picking her own row when she decided that it would go faster if maybe she went to the other side of the field and started there while her father finished these two rows.

“Daddy, I'm going to start on the other side of the field. I'm a big girl and I have lots of buckets. See you back at the house in a while!” said Brooke with much excitement. She thought living on a farm with lots of animals and the one she loved, her father, was the best thing in her life.

“That's fine sweetie. Just don't go by the road and you are only to do two rows. Do you hear?” he explained to his daughter, while her big blue eyes stared up at him waiting for him to let her go.

“Yes daddy got it!” Brooke said as she dropped her full buckets and picked up three new ones. She started running through the fields and trying not to trip at the same time.

Brooke's father watched Brooke, quietly laughing to himself as he watched her stumble her way through the field. She was clear out of sight when he started picking his rows again.

Two hours seemed to go by swiftly and Brooke was just finishing her row when she saw a strange figure walking down the road. Her father always told her to stay away from the road because of vehicles rushing on their way to and from work. Also, large tractors always came along that road because there were many farms along Sunny Road, where Brooke and her father lived. She was always told not to talk to strangers but this stranger looked so familiar, it was a woman.

The woman seemed to come closer and closer to Brooke. Brooke just stared at her with amazement. The woman reminded her of someone she knew, or once known. The woman had long blond hair, but it was tangled and a mess. She got closer and Brooke noticed she also had blue eyes, but there were tears running down her familiar face. The woman’s clothes were ripped and seemed to have blood stains all over them. Brooke noticed blood on the woman’s hands and neck. Where her jeans were ripped at the thigh, Brooke saw more blood flowing down her leg. She just stared.

“Help me, please help me. Brooke please.” The woman seemed to repeat to Brooke.

She kept getting closer to Brooke when she finally stopped to look down at the eight year old girl. Brooke kept wondering who this was and what was wrong with her until she realized, it was her mother.

“Mom, is it you? Is it really you? she thought..” Brooke didn’t know what to say.

While Brooke stood and stared with amazement and rambled on, trembling, what appeared to be her mother, just looked at her with her big, blue, tear-streaming eyes. She was a mess. Brooke felt so scared.

“Help me Brooke, help me. Help me!” the woman who Brooke thought was her mother, started getting louder and was eventually screaming.

Brooke didn't know what to do. Her first intention was to stand there, but like her father had said, never go by the road. Brooke was in total panic mode. Just then, Brooke turned and started running towards her house, the opposite direction of her mother. Brooke thought she was far enough away from her messed up mother so she decided to turn her head to look back as she ran. Her mother was nowhere in sight. Brooke did not slow her pace, in fact, she sped up. She was now sprinting through the cornstalks, but she lost her balance, tripped, and fell face first in the dirt, leaves and sticks scraping her arms and face. She tried to get up but being clumsy, fell again. She lay in the dirt for what seemed to be a long time, but it wasn't. She started to stand up, still trembling, but when she stood up, her mother was right back in front of her, staring and still mouthing the words, “help me.”

“Brooke, why did you run? I'm your mother and I need your help. Aren't you going to help your own mother?” the woman shouted.

“NO! You're not my mother! My mother died in a car wreck a year ago! Leave me alone, go away! DADDY!!!” Brooke screamed but she was crying so her huffing and puffing seemed to muffle her scream.

“Don't scream, Brooke it really is me. I love you, please help me.” her mother said.

“I don't believe you, I don't believe you! How are you here? What can I do? I'm just a kid!” Brooke slowed her heavy breaths.

“It's true, I can't explain how I'm here but I don't have much time. Just help me, only you can help Brooke.” her mom explained.

“No I can't help you. I don't know what you're talking about! Daddy!” Brooke says to the woman and then yells for her father.

Just then, Brooke hears running over her silent tears that are now soaked deep into her flannel shirt. It's her father.

“Brooke, what's wrong? Why are you crying? What happened?” Brooke's father seems to keep throwing unanswerable questions at Brooke.

Brooke hears her father's voice and turns around to find him and start explaining whats going on and that her mother is still alive, but in a horrid condition, but when she turns around again to see her mother, she's gone.

“She was just here, I know it! Where did she go?” Brooke loudly asks herself.

“Who Brooke? Who? What happened? Did you fall? Did you by the road like I told you not to? Why are you covered in dirt and bleeding?” Brooke's father starts the questions right back up again.

“It was mom! She was here and she was bleeding all over, her clothes were ripped too. She kept saying help me! Daddy, she was here!” Brooke rambled on.

“Brooke, are you okay? Mom was in a car wreck a year ago, don't you remember? I think you're just seeing things. Now, we need to get you to the house. You're bleeding everywhere.” Brooke's father said with confusion, like his daughter was just imagining things. He didn't believe her, but part of him questioned to himself why his daughter was making up such ridiculous stories.

“Daddy, it's true. I'm being serious! She was here and I saw her!” Brooke shouted loudly. She couldn't believe her father, the one who always listened to what Brooke had to say, no matter what it was, didn't understand. He always understands, she thought to herself.

Brooke started crying again but her father picked her up and started walking towards the old farmhouse.

“It's okay, you'll be okay.” was all Brooke's father seemed to say, like he was trying to comfort his daughter. Brooke could not be comforted, she know what she saw and was not making any of this up.

Her father held her in his arms while she let out more and more tears. They were almost out of the field when Brooke opened her eyes to glance around one last time. There she was, Brooke's mother, and she was mouthing the words, “help me.”





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